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Facebook May Be Largest IPO in History: Sean Parker

Thursday, 26 Jan 2012 | 10:57 AM ET

It is “inevitable” that Facebook will go public and when it does it could be “the largest offering in history,” said Sean Parker, the first president of the social-networking site, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

facebook president Sean Parker
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facebook president Sean Parker

Parker, who said that he does not know what the Facebook's valuation will be, explained that the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to keep the company private as long as possible to build it.

Many of the recent technology valuations and initial public offerings have been leveraging off of Facebook, Parker added.

“To the extent that there is any bubble in technology at all, it is really a bubble around Facebook in the sense that there is a huge amount of pent-up demand among retail investors for access to Facebook equity,” he said.

Two recent IPOs include Groupon,which priced in Novemberwith a valuation north of $12.5 billion, and Zynga, whose IPO valuedthe company at $8.9 billion.

Napster Co-Founder on Facebook IPO
I think there is a possibility the Facebook IPO will be the largest offering in history, says Sean Parker, Napster co-founder, who adds that if there is any bubble in technology at all, it is a bubble around Facebook.

Parker also commented on the potential he sees for Spotify, a music-streaming service on Facebook that allows users to sample music. Several artists, including Coldplay, no longer allow users to stream newly released songs using the service, however.

“There’s a lot of experimentation that’s happening amongst these various different artists and managers trying to figure out the model,” he said. “It is a radical new model, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the economic model powering Spotify. It’s not a free-for-all.”

Parker said it would take time for awareness of Spotify’s economic model to expand. It currently has a few million paying customers for its premium version, and tens of millions of customers for the free version.

“But as the overall user base expands...and as our conversion rates get better, the kind of money that will be generated — it actually won’t take us that long in our current growth rates to get to the same revenue that’s being generated each year by Apple’siTunes,” he said.

Once that occurs, Parker believes more artists will begin to share his view that Spotify is the future of music.

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